My father would lie on his side on the couch in front of the always-on TV. He liked us to lay on our sides on top of his side. Make sense?
And he would ask me to tell him a story from my mind. He would tell me his. I can’t recall any stories, but I remember the talking and the questions and the time we spent together.
Recently, I started telling my son stories from my imagination. It’s become part of our nighttime routine and the last thing we talk about before he has to go to sleep. I already forgot how I brought it up and started it, but he loves it.
He’s a bit young still to come up with his own complete stories, but he has tried a few times. Mostly, it’s me. I think of an idea, start talking and it unfolds as I speak.
Sometimes, the stories are pretty darn good. Other times, I’m so tired I feel my brain can’t handle it.Completely uninspired. But some days I feel I have nothing in me and then a great one pops out.
I use the stories to make a point about something I’m trying to teach, such as being grateful or not eating too much candy. I make up stories that are just ridiculous or ones that want to make him believe anything is possible. And I encourage him to use his imagination so he learns that with it, anything really is possible.
If he can retain even one iota of memory or feeling of love that we shower on him incessantly, then he will feel love forever.
Parents are often the reason adults end up in therapy. Are we smothering him? Are we too strict? Not strict enough? Have we afforded him the right opportunities? Does he need to learn how to play an instrument? Are we recognizing his skills and propensities and encouraging them appropriately? Chill out, lady, he’s only 4! Holy shit, he’s already 4?!
Let’s stick with the whole “he’ll feel love forever because we love him so much” theory. It isn’t always enough but it’s a hell of a good place from which to start.
“That one’s the girl,” my 4-year-old son exclaims excitedly, pointing to a giraffe in his book. How do you know, is, of course, my first question. “Because she has those things,” he explains, pointing… To her eyelashes.
A few days later, we were playing with his small, stuffed cotton animals that go in a little zoo bag. Practically the same scenario repeats itself. “That’s a girl!” Why? “She has eyelashes.”
I remind him, again, he has eyelashes, as do I and his tata (daddy). My words carry no weight.
In lieu of bows , pink color or other ‘typical’ gender markers, my son has identified the females. He does It all the time with books, toys, etc. Often, he seems to be correct. Artists draw extra long eyelashes on females in stories and other places.
It’s pretty sharp, I think, that he noticed it. I wasn’t so aware of it previously, unless it was really obvious. Mind you, this little boy has eyelashes a woman like me covets.
Eyelash extensions are a real thing, and i don’t know how many men would consider it.
Of course, comments like this coming from my boy whose hair is nearly shoulder length and who refuses to get a haircut, is a little ironic. My husband and I often get told how cute SHE is.
It’s funny though. When you consider the attention being placed recently on toy makers marketing to specific genders with things like pink Legos and so on. Is anyone payin attention to the eyes? They hold so much truth.
(Photo from http://www.prillycharmin.com/restore/5eyelash.htm)
Last weekend, for the first time ever in my 4X years, I bought Christmas lights. That’s right. Not holiday lights. That’s not what they are. That’s some bullshit marketing term to encourage people of all denominations to buy them. I digress.
It was all in the name of love. My 4 year old was mesmerized by all the sparkles and colors last year around this time. Everything was magical to him. I want to give that to him. Find ways for him to hold on to that wonder as long as possible. Oy vey, that’s profound.
So off to Target I did go. And wow, I had no idea how large the wall of light options would be. I felt a bit overwhelmed but found some rainbow lights And white icicle lights. He’s thrilled. Young enough that he’s enthralled. And they were a couple of the more simple options.
We schedule light-watching time into our nighttime routine now. Him, clean from his bath, wrapped up in our sugar skull fleece throw in the corner of the L-shaped sofa. I want him to have even the vaguest memories of traditions with overwhelming feelings of being loved. Sometimes Christmas lights are what we need.
Nov. 13, 2015
I originally wrote this post years ago. It’s been a draft. After watching news unfold from Paris today, I feel the same. Only this is not random. It’s born from hate. Blinding, illogical hate that runs so deep there’s no way most of us could ever even contemplate it.
It’s all senseless killing. I don’t believe there will ever be peace all over our world. But for the sake of my son, I hope for it desperately. Because just like the kids who suffered and died at the gun of a mentally ill boy, barely a man, at a movie theater in Colorado, kids and people just like us perished at a rock concert, at a cafe, a store in Paris. And they are just like us. And they could be us.
I don’t want to be one of those parents who is scared to let my kid do anything. But goddamit, why the senseless, random killing? What had to have happened to this person or what kind of help or attention did he not get or what is wrong in his brain that made him brutally murder people at a movie premiere in Colorado. How? Why? WHY? I’ve stopped reading the articles because I don’t want to keep crying. Let’s all grieve and be sad. Honor the friends, family members and strangers who died because they were at the fucking movies. But what then?! What will change? The NRA will never stop fighting calls for gun control. Why can’t the rational ones realize that non rational, crazy mother fuckers GET GUNS. And why can’t we try to make that stop? Please.
I can’t be at your doctor’s appointment. I have to go into the office. I didn’t see how you got that booboo on your knee. I was on a conference call. Did tata see you chase the kids like a dinosaur at the park today? I really wish I hadn’t missed that. You don’t want me to go to work today? No, baby. I don’t want me to go to work today either. But I have to. Sigh.
The young girl was sitting on the sidewalk with her feet in the dirt, hands resting on her thighs. She was holding her iPhone, of course, as they do these days.
A middle aged woman with a kind face walked by her. She paused. Noticed something. I lowered my car window.
“Are you ok?” The woman slowed and took a step backwards towards the teenager. “Yes, I’m ok,” she lied as her face crumbled and told a different story. Maybe she wanted to be left alone. I know how she feels.
I had had a bad day, too. But no one around me all day noticed. No one asked. I wanted to pull the car over, run across the street, hug the girl close and encourage her to have a good cry. Let it out, I’d say. Just let it out.
I drove on. Headed home. I slowed and looked at her from my window but I didn’t stop.